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Opium Poppy Cultivation (Afghanistan)

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department's assessment is of the change in opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in the last 12 months. [108048]

I have been asked to reply.The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducts an annual survey into the level of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. This reported that the level of cultivation in 2002 was 74,000 hectares. This was higher than the mid-1990s average but below the record level of 1999 (91,000 hectares).The UNODC is in the process of carrying out the 2003 survey. Its results will be published in the autumn. In March 2003 the UNODC published an Opium Rapid Assessment Survey for Afghanistan. This gave an early insight into the pattern of opium poppy cultivation for the 2002–03 growing season but did not predict the level of opium poppy cultivation for 2003 or beyond. It did find however that there was a trend for farmers to cultivate opium poppy in increasingly remote and inaccessible areas.